This article will provide guidance on How To Serve legal papers in Florida. In Florida, the clerk or judge will issue the summons or other process under their respective signature and the seal of the court as soon as the action is initiated. This is where Florida Process Service comes into action. The court has the authority to select any competent person who is not involved in the case to conduct Florida Process Service on behalf of an official authorized by law to do so. Click Here for Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers!

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A Sheriff must appoint process servers in Florida.  Resisting a person legally authorized to execute the Florida Process Service in the execution of legal process with violence is a third-degree felony in Florida. Resisting without violence is considered a first-degree misdemeanor.  Click Here for information on What do Process Servers in Florida Do?


When a court has the authority to decide on a party in a lawsuit, it has personal jurisdiction. The U.S. Constitution requires that a party have a certain amount of interaction with the forum in which the court sits before a court may exercise its authority over the party. For a court in Florida to have jurisdiction over a defendant, the state’s statutes and federal Constitutional constraints must be met. Click here for information on Flordia Rules of Civil Procedure.

A defendant who is a natural person and a resident of Florida may be subject to Florida’s personal jurisdiction if the process is served on them in the state. To bring a person into the adjudicative process, a court must have the capacity to bring a person into its adjudicative process, not only property interests. A party must thus accede to jurisdiction and present in court without timely objection to doing so. To qualify for personal jurisdiction, the individual must be a Florida corporation or a Florida company with its primary place of business here. If Florida’s Long Arm Statute is invoked, an out-of-state defendant may be subject to personal jurisdiction in a Florida court. Click here for information on How To Identify A Good Process Service Agency

Upon the beginning of the action, the clerk or judge is required to issue a summons immediately, or other Florida Process Service permitted by law their signature and the court seal and delivered them for service without praecipe. Click here for information on How Rush Process Service Can Expedite Your Case.

However, the court has the power to choose any competent person not involved in the case to deliver Florida Process Service. Within the time frame in which the person served has to react to the Florida Process Service, an affidavit must be filed by the person who serves Florida Process Service. The legitimacy of the Florida Process Service is unaffected if evidence of service is not provided. As long as the unserved party is not served, the party who issued the Florida Process Service is entitled to further process against them. It is up to the clerk of court to issue as many writs of the process as ordered by the plaintiff or their counsel in cases where there is more than one defendant. Click here for information on How Service of Process Ensures A Solid Foundation.

People who have been served will get copies of their first pleading. A copy of the original pleading must be given to the party served at the time of personal serving. On the original Florida Process Service and all copies, the service provider must sign off on the date and time of service. It is the responsibility of the party requesting personal service to provide the person doing it with the appropriate copies. Service by publication requires that the clerk be provided with copies of the first pleadings to be sent with notice of action, which will then be sent out to all parties whose addresses are indicated in the original statement of facts or pleadings. Click here for information on How Process Servers Protect Your Rights: Myths Debunked

There is no fee for the clerk to certify or authenticate a copy of a court order to be served personally. To provide Florida Process Service, a service provider must utilize a certified duplicate of the original order instead of the original order. 

A defendant who promptly returns a waiver of service request is not compelled to reply to the complaint until sixty days from the date the waiver request was received by the defendant. Service of process must be considered effective twenty days prior to the period necessary to reply to the complaint for purposes of calculating any time imposed or permitted by these rules.

A waiver of service is not necessary if the plaintiff files a waiver of service with the court, and the case will continue as if a summons and complaint had been served at the time of filing the waiver.

An action can be dismissed without prejudice or a defendant to be dropped as a party if service of the initial process and initial pleading is not made within a hundred and twenty days of the filing of the initial pleading and the party on whose behalf Florida Process Service is required does not show good cause why Florida Process Service was not made within that time period. 

The court clerk or an attorney of record in action may issue subpoenas for witnesses to appear in court, for evidence to be produced, and for depositions to be taken.

HOW to serve a SUBPOENA in Florida

When a subpoena is issued by an attorney of record or the clerk under the seal of the court, it must include all relevant information, such as a court name and action title, and must demand each individual to appear at a designated location at the time and place indicated in the summons.

When requested orally and without praecipe, the clerk is the one to issue an official subpoena, signed and sealed, for testimony or documentary evidence before the court. 

The court may [A.] quash or modify the subpoena if it is unreasonable and oppressive or [B.] condition denial of the motion on advancement by the person on whose behalf the subpoena was issued by making a motion made promptly and at any event at or before the time specified in the subpoena for compliance therewith. 

A subpoena may be served by any person authorized by law to serve the process or by any other person who is not a party and is at least eighteen years old. If service is not performed by an individual authorized by law, proof of service must be shown by the affidavit of the person doing the service.


If a notice to take a deposition is filed with a certificate of service on it proving service on all parties to the case, the clerk of that court or an attorney of record in action may issue subpoenas for the people mentioned or described in the notice. 

Anyone to whom the subpoena is addressed has the right to file a written objection to the examination, copying, or other use of any designated items within ten days after delivery. A person serving a subpoena cannot view or copy documents if an objection is lodged, except as authorized by the court order issuing the subpoena. Any time before or during the deposition, the party issuing the subpoena may notify the deponent of a motion for an order if an objection has been raised.

how to domesticate an OUT-OF-STATE SUBPOENA in florida

Issuing an out-of-state subpoena pursuant to the Uniform Interstate Deposition and Discovery Act (UIDDA)-Florida, the clerk of the court in the county where discovery is to be performed in this state must be presented with a foreign subpoena before it may be requested that a subpoena be issued under this section. Subpoenas issued under this law do not obligate a person to appear in court in Florida.

Second, the clerk of a court in this state must swiftly issue a summons to the person to whom the international subpoena is sent, in line with that court’s process.

A subpoena issued for a foreign defendant must include: [A.]   the terminology appropriate for the subpoena from abroad; and [B.]  part of the subpoena, it must include or be accompanied with the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all counsel of record and of any party that is not represented by counsel.

METHODS OF process SERVICE in florida

Non-enforceable civil Florida Process Service may be served by a special process server appointed by the sheriff or a certified process server if the sheriff has the authority to do so. Subpoenas for witnesses may be served by anyone authorized by the rules of process, including a judge. 

The sheriff of each county may establish an approved list of natural persons designated as special process servers at their discretion. Each person whose name has been added to the approved list is subject to the sheriff’s annual recertification and reappointment. The sheriff shall prescribe an appropriate form for application for appointment. 

The applicant’s criminal record will be obtained and reviewed as a background inquiry.

Certificate of good conduct stating that there is no open criminal case against the applicant and no record of a felony conviction or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude or dishonesty during the last five years must be attached to the application and included with the application. The applicant must swear under penalty of perjury that they will perform their responsibilities as a special process server honestly, diligently, and truthfully.


The name, signature, and picture of each special process server, their identification number, and the date of expiry must be included on an identity card. A yearly renewal is required for all identity cards, and this may only be done if the cardholder can provide evidence of good standing.

A special process server’s appointment may be revoked at the sheriff’s discretion if the sheriff decides that the special process server is not performing his or her responsibilities correctly. The sheriff is required to set up the software to monitor the performance of the unique process servers assigned to this area. A modest fee might be imposed to cover the expenses of running such a service.

Special process servers may only serve the Florida Process Service in the county where their appointed sheriff lives and can charge reasonable fees for their services.

Disinterestedness is an absolute need for any special process server. Special process servers who willfully or maliciously return fraudulent service or otherwise breach their oath of office are subject to criminal charges and are permanently disqualified from serving process in Florida.

how to serve A SUMMONS in florida

Delivering a copy of the original process or leaving duplicates at their usual residence with someone living there who is fifteen years old or older serves the person to be served with the complaint, petition, or other initial pleading or document. 

Workers must be served at a private location designated by their employers when an employee authorized to serve process reaches out to them.

As long as there is no adversarial process going on between the spouses who are to be served and are living in the same house, substitute service may be made to them at any place in their county of residence.

During normal business hours, it is permitted to replace service on a single proprietor by serving the business manager if the owner has already been served at the location. A designated supervisorial or administrative employee at the witness’s place of employment may be served with the subpoena if the agency head or highest-ranking official at the witness’s place of employment has designated such employee to accept service. 

This rule applies to witnesses terminated from their position at an agency. This would also include witnesses who have been scheduled to work before their projected appearance date and witnesses who have been summoned for an appearance that is less than five days away from the date of Florida Process Service.

The agency director or the highest-ranking official at the witness’s place of employment may choose which days of the week and what hours of service are available.

It is possible to serve a criminal witness subpoena on the person who requested it if that person is responsible for mailing the subpoena and returning it to court.

Service must be served by the state attorney or an assistant state attorney for that judicial circuit. Two copies of the process must be submitted to the Attorney General by registered or certified mail when the state has agreed to be sued. The state has forty days from service to serve motions or pleadings.

Two copies of the process must be left with the designated agent for service of process in the office of the public official, board, agency, or commission or in the office of that agency, or sent to that agency for service under any statute that specifies a designated agent. When a public official is served with a document, they must save one copy for their records and transmit the other to the person to be served, as shown by their records, as soon as possible.

 Upon receipt of the summons and complaint, the public official, board, agency, or commission must quickly issue and file a notice accepting the process as proof of service in the court issuing the summons and complaint. Notification accepting Florida Process Service must include information about the date the Florida Process Service was sent to the person being served by a public official, board, agency, or commission. The time limit set out in the rules of procedure will begin to run on this date. 

The Insurance Commissioner and Treasurer or their assistant or deputy is the agent for service of process on all insurers applying for authority to transact insurance in Florida.

The Comptroller is the agent for service of process for any issuer or any dealer, investment adviser, or associated person registered with the Department of Banking and Finance for any violation of any provision of chapter 517.

The Secretary of State is the agent for Florida Process Service for any retailer, dealer, or vendor who has failed to designate an agent for service of process as required.

Service or execution on Sunday of any writ, process, warrant, order, or judgment is void. The person serving or executing, or causing it to be served or executed, is liable to the party aggrieved for damages for so doing as if he or she had done it without any process, writ, warrant, order, or judgment. 

If the affidavit is made by the person requesting service or execution that they have good reason to believe that any person liable to have any such writ, process, warrant, order, or judgment served intends to escape from this state under the protection of Sunday, any officer furnished with an order authorizing service or execution by the judge or magistrate of any incorporated town may serve or execute such writ, process, warrant, order, or judgment on Sunday. It is as valid as if it had been done on any other day.


All officers to whom Florida Process Service is directed must note the time when it comes to hand, the time when it is executed, the manner of execution, the name of the person on whom it was executed, and if such person is served in a representative capacity, the position occupied by the person upon the document. A failure to state the foregoing facts invalidates the service, but the return is amendable to state the truth at any time on application to the court from which the process is issued. 

On amendment, service is as effective as if the return had originally stated the omitted facts. A failure to state all the facts in return will subject the officer to failing to a fine not exceeding ten dollars, at the court’s discretion.


Documents can be faxed at (800) 296-0115, emailed, mailed, or dropped off at any of our locations. We do require pre-payment and accept all major credit and debit cards. Once payment is processed, your sales receipt is immediately emailed for your records.

Drop-offs must call and make an appointment first to be added to building security to permit access to our office. Documents for service must be in a sealed envelope with payment in the form of a money order or attorney check (WE DO NOT ACCEPT CASH) payable to UNDISPUTED LEGAL INC.; All documents are received by our receptionist.


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New York: (212) 203-8001 – 590 Madison Avenue, 21st Floor, New York, New York 10022
Brooklyn: (347) 983-5436 – 300 Cadman Plaza West, 12th Floor, Brooklyn, New York 11201
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Washington DC: (202) 655-4450 – 1101 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Suite 300, Washington DC 20004


Pick up the phone and call Toll Free (800) 774-6922, or click the service you want to purchase. Our dedicated team of professionals is ready to assist you. We can handle all your process service needs; no job is too small or too large!  For a complete list of our Flordia Process Service Coverage Areas, Click Here!

Contact us for more information about our process-serving agency. We are ready to provide service of process to all our clients globally from our offices in New York, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, Westchester, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Washington, D.C.

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1. 2000 Florida Statutes: Title XLVI – Crimes. Chapter 843 Obstructing Justice: 843.01 and 843.02

2. Unless there is a good reason for the failure, the defendant’s service will not raise the statutory remuneration for conducting duty.

3. but otherwise in blank

4. The official subpoena shall bear the title of the action and include the name of the person to whom it is directed. Before the attorney or party serves the subpoena, it must be filled out completely.

5. It is permissible to issue a subpoena requiring a person to submit books, papers, documents, or physical items that form or include evidence related to any issues authorized under rule 1.280’s scope of the examination.

6. This is earlier if the deadline stated in the subpoena for compliance is less than ten days away

7. History. – s. 16, July 22, 1845; s. 1, ch. 3721, 1887; RS 1014, 1246; GS 1401; RGS 2598; s. 1, ch. 9318, 1923; CGL 4238; s. 4, ch. 67-254; s. 12, ch. 73-334; s. 1, ch. 76-263; s. 2, ch. 79-396; s. 1, ch. 81-266; s. 1, ch. 88-135; s. 2, ch. 91-306; s. 268, ch. 95-147; s. 16, ch. 98-34.
Note. – Section 46, ch. 98-34, provides that “[t]he provisions of this act do not affect a cause of action that accrued before [July 1, 1998].” Note. – Former s. 47.12

8. To the extent that a public official, board, agency, or commission serves as a statutory agent for process, the service is legal.

9. This would include all licensed nonresident insurance agents, all nonresident disability insurance agents licensed by the Department of Insurance under s. 626.835, any unauthorized insurer under s. 626.906 or s. 626.937, domestic reciprocal insurers, fraternal benefit societies under chapter 632, automobile inspection and warranty associations, ambulance service associations, and persons required to file statements under s. 628.461

10. Short title.—This chapter may be cited as the “Florida Securities and Investor Protection Act.”

History.—s. 1, ch. 78-435; s. 5, ch. 80-254; s. 391, ch. 81-259; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; s. 1, ch. 84-159; s. 1, ch. 85-165; ss. 14, 15, ch. 90-362; s. 4, ch. 91-429.

11. A summons is a “process” within the statute’s meaning, providing that civil process cannot be served on Sunday. Miller v. Johnson, 466 So.2d 340 (1985).


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